Liberia: Gov’t, Partners Launch 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence

The government, through the Ministry of Children and Social Protection, has launched the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence, while calling for more efforts to address violence against women and girls.

This annual campaign, spanning from November 25 to December 10, serves as a global call to action, and the global theme this year is “UNITE! Invest to Prevent Violence Against Women and Girls,” and the national theme is “Empower Women, Secure Our Nation: Invest Locally to Prevent Violence Against Women and Girls.”

It was launched in  partnership with UN Women Liberia and others.

In her special statement and overview, Gender Minister Williametta E. Saydee-Tarr urged  everyone  to recommit himself or herself to this  noble cause, by  continuing to collaborate, innovate, and advocate for a society where every woman and girl can thrive to create a legacy of empowerment, equality, and security for the generations to come.

Saydee-Tarr disclosed that empowering women is not just a pathway to equality; but  it is an investment in the resilience and prosperity of our entire nation.

“Today marks the official launch of the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence, a significant moment where we come together as a nation and a global community to amplify our commitment to eradicating violence against women and girls,” she said.

According to her, investing locally will not only  recognize the unique challenges within the  nation but also commit to tailored solutions that address the root causes of gender-based violence. 

“The act of investing, both financially and emotionally, is an acknowledgment of the shared responsibility we bear in fostering a world where women and girls can thrive without fear or violence. In alignment with the global theme, our National Theme. 

“Empower Women, Secure Our Nation: Invest Locally to Prevent Violence against Women & Girls encapsulates the essence of empowerment and security,” Gender Minister  noted.

In a special remark, Comfort Lamptey, UN Women Liberia Country Representative pointed out that the level of investments in addressing violence against women and girls remain inadequate in Liberia and  globally.

“The pertinence of this year’s theme cannot be overstated as it is critical in achieving our goal of wiping out the scourge of GBV. This year’s theme calls upon all stakeholders including, Government, civil society, women’s rights organizations, organizations working with men and boys, and private sector to step up and support different prevention strategies to end GBV.

“Violence against women and girls has a negative impact on all parts of our society. This crime has a significant economic burden on the national scale, estimated at 3.7% of GDP in some countries due to essential costs on the state, survivors, and communities, encompassing both direct and indirect expenses.

“Despite the scale of the problem and these worrying trends, financial commitments to violence prevention remain limited. Every effort invested in preventing violence against women is a step towards a safer, more equal, and prosperous world.

“Without ambitious investments to scale up prevention programs, implement effective policies, and offer support services, achieving the goal of ending gender-based violence by 2030 is at risk,” Lamptey emphasized. 

According to her,  investments towards ending GBV are not only monetary but also about ensuring the strengthening of all sectors, saying  UN Women is aware that prevention is very much advanced when they  have strong women’s rights organizations working to support government efforts to end GBV.

She amplified that prevention also requires tackling the problem at root cause; “we must address negative social norms and practices which continue to perpetuate discrimination and inequality against women. We need to invest in transforming social norms, stereotypes and persistent discrimination against women. An important strategy in this work is working with men, Liberia has made investments in working with male champions through the HeForShe Campaign and this important work needs to continue. We need to build more male allies working with men from the home to the classroom, to the workplace to the boardrooms.”

UN Women Liberia Country Representative maintained that investment also calls for collaboration, partnerships, and joint action to ensure that individual efforts can have a greater impact.